Before I was 30 I had wanted to kill myself. After I had met my rock bottom– following cancer treatments, facial disfigurement, and a failed marriage—I was told by my father that I had no more excuses, nothing left to fear. I had to take a hold of my life or risk a lifetime of misery or of not living at all, which would bring profound sadness to him and all those who loved me. He hauled me out of the house and enrolled him and I to volunteer with young trauma survivors. Dad said he couldn’t afford to take a lot of time off from work, but he couldn’t afford to lose me. Most memorably, he agreed with me that I had indeed failed at a lot of things and he added with some amusement that while I was on this amazing failure streak that I could also fail to let failure get the better of me! While I may not love myself the way he and my Mom loved me, Dad was darn sure I’d fall in love with all the kids that he’d enrolled us to volunteer with. And it was through those experiences that I found meaning in all that I’d been through. Dad taught that there’s honor in failing, and that resilience can be found in helping those less fortunate than yourself. I can tell you that regardless of the circumstances we’re dealt in life, we still can make a change; become a source of light to inspire others around us, and to help them realize that they can do the same. So yes, I’ve survived cancer and ultimately I hope to also survive depression.
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